On hearing that my children don’t actually go to school there are always 2 questions asked. The first, do you ever plan to send them to school? which my answer is usually along the lines of, actually my eldest 2 did go to a lovely, amazing school which we loved. In the future? I’m not so sure, we enjoy the freedom Home Education brings, if that changes then yes, I will look for a school.
The second question, why do you choose to home educate? is a little more complicated to answer. As I said, my eldest girls went to a lovely village school near Weston-super-Mare where we lived. It was a small school with less than 100 students and only 4 classes. The head teacher was very child orientated, SATS and reading tests were something the government said they had to do, so they would make sure the kids had fun doing it. The school owned a little wood and the children were often found fire building (supervised obviously!) in a little clearing and hunting through the woods. They were relaxed about home work and focused on helping children to foster a love of reading, writing, playing every type of sports imaginable and just being kids and enjoying life. I often feel we were totally and utterly spoiled with the school, it was everything and more we could ever want in a primary school! Then, for reasons I’m not going to delve into here, Adam and I made the heart breaking decision to leave the house we loved, sell up and move across the Severn Bridge into the Welsh valleys. Whilst we know the decision to move was 100% the right one, it was so hard to leave the school and all of the children’s friends behind.
After we moved, we quickly went about looking for schools in our new area, and after looking around, narrowed it down to 2 options. The first, it turned out, didn’t have enough spaces for the children, so school number 2 it was. I could go into how the head teacher, in our opinion, behaved unreasonably (I’m sure she would say the same thing about me though!), but the truth is, we just weren’t happy with the head teachers ethos or the way things were being done. We don;t agree with testing children at a young age and this school was all for that. We don;t agree with setting homework for children to be slogging over during the weekend and this particular school set homework for our then 3 year old. We also believe that the more involved the parents are with their child’s education, for example knowing what topic they are learning about ect, the better for every one, but this school wanted a very hands off approach from the parents and wasn’t prepared to give any information. I don’t want to slate the school too much because for some it would have been the perfect school, it just wasn’t for us. It was night and day to our old school and not somewhere we wanted to be.
After 9 days (it felt so many more!) I pulled the children from the school and half intended to find them a new school, but we fell into a pattern that worked for us, doing structured maths and English in the mornings and playing around in the afternoon with science, music and art, visiting our local forest and visiting science centres, museums and castles. It worked for us! We love the freedom that home education brings, we love that the kids can learn at their own pace and learn what takes their interest. This summer we plan on learning all about the history of the Welsh valleys where we live, from the Romans to the iron age and everything in between and beyond! So to circle back to the first question, will I ever send them to school? If our situation were to change, if I felt I couldn’t teach them enough, if I had to go back to work, then yes I would consider putting them in school again, but for now? Its working, the children are happy and I love showing them the world!